Tragedy Strikes the Happiest Place on Earth
For 16 years, Sonja Flowers worked as a server at a restaurant at a Disney resort. She’s been out of work since March 15th and believes she will soon be out of a job. For Flowers, 62, this may mean delaying her goal of retiring in five years.
Disney has announced that it will be laying off 28,000 employees nationwide who help make Disneyland theme parks a magical paradise for both children and adults. The layoffs will affect the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products unit, with about 67% of the employees laid off being part-time workers. Part-time employees will receive 60 days of severance pay starting November 1st through the end of December.
In addition to the part-time workers being laid off, about 6,700 non-union Disney World employees will be laid off by December 4th. This means that about 20 percent, or more than 15,500 employees, will be out of a job. Before the pandemic, the Disney park had about 77,000 employees.
In a press release, the Service Trades Council Union (STCU) said, “Any Cast Members who are laid off in the future will retain their employment, their seniority, rate of pay including any scheduled increases, and the right to return back to a previous job with the Company until October 1, 2022,” which is when the union contract expires. “This means that all Cast Members represented by the STCU will be given priority to return to their job prior to Disney hiring new employees off the street.”
Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, has said the staffing cuts were necessary because of the “limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.”
Though Disneyland in Orlando reopened in mid-July, Disneyland in California and California Adventure in Anaheim remains closed.
During the first three months of 2020, the company’s profit dropped by 91%. Just a few weeks into the pandemic, Disney reported a loss of one billion dollars in profit. D’Amaro has said that, “We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”
If you would like to learn more about work injuries, layoff’s, and terminations, contact our office at 714-547-5025.